SEO is constantly changing.
What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, and what works today may not work in the future.
What is the future of SEO? And how can you prepare for it?
In this post,
I’ll show you:
• The major trends that are shaping the future of SEO
• The best practices to optimize your site for each trend
• The tools and resources to help you stay ahead of the curve
Let’s dive in.
– Trend #1: User Intent
User intent is the goal or purpose behind a search query. It’s what the user wants to achieve by typing something into Google.
For example, someone searching for “best laptop” may have different intents, such as:
• Comparing different laptop models and features
• Finding the best laptop for a specific need or budget
• Buying a laptop online or in a nearby store
Google’s job is to understand the user intent and provide the most relevant and helpful results for each query.
That’s why Google is constantly improving its algorithms and features to match the user intent better.
Google may show different types of results for the same query, depending on the user intent, such as:
• Featured snippets
• People also ask
• Video carousels
• Shopping ads
• Local packs
• Knowledge panels
These are called search intent modifiers.
They modify the search results to match the user intent more closely.
if someone searches for “how to make pizza”, Google may show a featured snippet with a step-by-step recipe, a video carousel with cooking tutorials, and a people also ask box with related questions.
But if someone searches for “pizza near me”, Google may show a local pack with nearby pizza places, a map with directions, and a knowledge panel with ratings and reviews.
As you can see,
Google is trying to provide the best answer for each user intent, not just the best keyword match.
How can you optimize your site for user intent?
Here are some best practices:
• Keyword Research: Use tools like https://www.bing.com/toolbox/keywords or https://ahrefs.com/keywords-explorer to find keywords that match your topic and audience. Look for keywords with high search volume, low competition, and high business value.
• Analyze the search results: For each keyword, look at the top 10 results on Google and Bing. Pay attention to the search intent modifiers, such as featured snippets, video carousels, etc. These will tell you what kind of content and format Google and Bing prefer for that keyword.
• Create User Focus Content: Write content that answers the user intent behind the keyword. Provide useful and relevant information, examples, case studies, images, videos, etc. Make your content easy to read, scan, and understand. Use clear headings, subheadings, bullet points, etc.
• Optimize your content for search modifiers: If you want to rank for a featured snippet, for example, use a question as your headline and provide a concise answer in the first paragraph. If you want to rank for a video carousel, create a video that covers the topic and upload it to YouTube. If you want to rank for a local pack, optimize your Google My Business profile and get more reviews.
– Trend #2: User Experience
User experience (UX) is how a user feels when interacting with your site.
It includes factors such as:
• Site speed
• Content quality
UX is important for SEO for two reasons:
• First, UX affects user behavior, such as bounce rate, dwell time, click-through rate, etc. These are signals that Google and Bing use to measure the quality and relevance of your site. If your site provides a good UX, users will stay longer, click more, and come back more often. This will boost your rankings and traffic.
• Second, UX affects core web vitals, such as loading, interactivity, and visual stability. These are metrics that Google and Bing use to measure the performance and stability of your site. If your site provides a good UX, it will load faster, respond quicker, and look smoother. This will improve your rankings and traffic.
So, How can you optimize your site for UX?
Here are some best practices:
• Use fast and reliable hosting services. Choose a hosting service that offers fast loading speeds, high uptime, and good customer support.You can use tools like https://www.bing.com/webmasters/ or https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to test your site speed and performance.
• Make your website mobile-friendly: Use a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes and devices. You can use tools like https://www.bing.com/webmaster/tools/mobile-friendliness or https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly to check your site’s mobile-friendliness.
• Improve your website navigation: Make your site easy to navigate and explore. Use a clear and consistent menu, breadcrumbs, sitemap, etc. Provide internal links to related pages and external links to authoritative sources. Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs, titles, and meta descriptions.
• Enhance your website design: Make your site visually appealing and professional. Use a consistent and harmonious color scheme, font, and style. Use high-quality images, videos, and graphics. Avoid clutter, pop-ups, and distractions. Use white space, contrast, and alignment to create a clear hierarchy and focus.
• Boost your content quality: Make your content valuable and engaging. Use original and accurate information, examples, case studies, etc. Use clear and compelling headlines, subheadings, introductions, and conclusions. Use short and simple sentences, paragraphs, and words. Use an active voice, tone, and style that match your audience and purpose.
• Increase website usability: Make your site easy to use and understand. Use clear and intuitive labels, buttons, forms, etc. Provide clear and helpful feedback, error messages, and instructions. Provide search, filter, and sorting options. Provide contact, support, and FAQ pages.
• Ensure your website accessibility: Make your site accessible and inclusive for all users, regardless of their abilities, preferences, or devices. Use alt text, captions, transcripts, etc. for images, videos, and audio. Use headings, landmarks, and labels for structure and navigation. Use contrast, size, and spacing for readability and visibility. Use keyboard, mouse, and touch inputs for interaction.
– Trend #3: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as:
• Understanding natural language
• Recognizing images and faces
• Learning from data and feedback
• Solving problems and making decisions
AI is transforming SEO in many ways,
• Ranking Algorithms: Google and Bing use AI to power their ranking algorithms, such as https://www.bing.com/search?q=rankbrain and https://www.bing.com/search?q=bert. These algorithms use machine learning and natural language processing to understand the meaning and context of search queries and web pages.
They can also adapt and improve over time based on user behavior and feedback.
• Content generation: AI can also help with creating and optimizing content, such as https://www.bing.com/webmasters/content-submission-api and https://cloud.google.com/natural-language. These tools use AI to analyze, generate, and optimize content for SEO. They can help with tasks such as keyword research, content ideation, content writing, content editing, content formatting, etc.
These tools use AI to recognize and process voice inputs and provide voice outputs.
Voice search is becoming more popular and convenient, especially on mobile devices and smart speakers.
How can you optimize your site for AI?
Here are some best practices:
• Optimize your website for ranking algorithms: To rank well on Google and Bing, you need to optimize your site for their ranking algorithms, such as RankBrain and BERT. This means creating content that matches the user intent, provides a good UX, and uses natural and conversational language. You also need to monitor your site’s performance and user behavior, and make adjustments accordingly.
• Leverage AI tools for content generation: To create and optimize content for SEO, you can use AI tools, such as Bing Content Submission API and the Google Natural Language API. These tools can help you with various aspects of content creation and optimization, such as finding keywords, generating ideas, writing content, editing content, formatting content, etc. You can also use AI tools to check your content quality, readability, and uniqueness.
• Prepare your site for voice search: To optimize your site for voice search, you need to make your site voice-friendly, such as using short and simple sentences, paragraphs, and words, using questions and answers, using schema markup and structured data, etc. You also need to optimize your site for mobile devices and smart speakers, such as by using a responsive design, improving your site speed, and using HTTPS.
The future of SEO is shaped by three major trends: user intent, user experience, and artificial intelligence.
To prepare for the future of SEO, you need to:
• Optimize your site for user intent, by creating user-focused content and matching the search intent modifiers
• Optimize your site for user experience, by improving your site speed, mobile-friendliness, navigation, design, content quality, usability, and accessibility
• Optimize your site for artificial intelligence, by leveraging AI tools for content generation and preparing your site for voice search
By following these best practices, you can stay ahead of the curve and rank higher on Google and Bing.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions or feedback, please let me know.
Issy is an expert in SEO ethics, website accessibility, and governance. She helps clients create and implement SEO strategies that are ethical, accessible, and sustainable. She also shares her insights on these topics